It has always been a challenge to stay positive and not allow everything around us to impact our emotions and attitude. I have a go-to passage that has taken me through a lot of challenges and storms of life, Philippians 4:4-9
Several years ago, as I was going through a challenging trial, I found that I was having trouble sleeping and was somewhat consumed by the drama, including all of the concerns regarding the future. That is when I began the practice of reciting from memory Philippians 4:4-9.
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Often I would quote this passage. It began to soothe my spirit and mind. A sense of calmness would wash over me as well. I found there are three directives in those verses that I still rely upon:
Praise This is where it starts! It is essential to the proper priority and foundation. Joy! Rejoicing is rehearsing and remembering; The verse says to rejoice in the Lord. There may be little to no joy today regarding the things happening. Our joy is not predicated on our bank statements, medical tests, relationships, politics, or jobs. Joy comes from the Lord. I may not have much in this world to be rejoicing over at any given moment, but I can always rejoice in the Lord. I will rejoice in God’s grace, love, mercy, provision, and power. I have discovered that rejoicing in the Lord sets my heart at ease and improves my attitude and spirit.
Pray Paul says instead of being anxious, pray. You can only do one! You can either be anxious, or you can pray! One will crowd out the other. In prayer, you can dwell on your anxieties or take them to the Lord. As I work through this passage, I pause and pray about everyone and everything that comes to mind. Sure enough, after some time, I realized that my anxiety level was receding and my faith was being strengthened.
Peace God’s peace comes! I can’t explain it totally or even adequately, but it comes over me. A peace that nothing in this world can duplicate.
Results I have discovered:
- Gentleness This is not something I am gifted with naturally! Ask anyone who knows me, and they will readily agree. Agitation is the natural outcome when we allow the things around us to cloud our minds and hearts. Just repeating this passage and allowing the message to soak in brings a feeling of peace, and instead of harshness, a gentile presence of the Lord soothes and comforts me. Paul says it will be evident to all. This only happens through the power and presence of the Holy Spirit.
- The Lord is near As we get caught up in the things of the world. We can come to believe if things do not happen the way we think they need to happen, then the world will come to an end. Meditating on this passage reminds me regardless of circumstances, God is in control. The antidote for fear and anxiety is the presence of the Lord. Thankfully, He is near!
- God’s Guarding Grace Our minds and hearts are guarded by the peace of God! Peace is not the absence of conflict and trouble. Instead, it is the presence of Christ.
Reciting or reading this passage has helped me often over the years. I practiced it last night and a couple of times in the wee hours of the morning. I can testify that it does work.
Try it for yourself.
Have a great and blessed day